Create an Azure Search service in the portal

This article explains how to create or provision an Azure Search service in the portal. For PowerShell instructions, see Manage Azure Search with PowerShell.

Subscribe (free or paid)

Open a free Azure account and use free credits to try out paid Azure services. After credits are used up, keep the account and continue to use free Azure services, such as Websites. Your credit card is never charged unless you explicitly change your settings and ask to be charged.

Alternatively, activate MSDN subscriber benefits. An MSDN subscription gives you credits every month you can use for paid Azure services.

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. Click the plus sign ("+") in the top left corner.
  3. Select Web + Mobile > Azure Search.

Name the service and URL endpoint

A service name is part of the URL endpoint against which API calls are issued. Type your service name in the URL field.

Service name requirements:

  • 2 and 60 characters in length
  • lowercase letters, digits, or dashes ("-")
  • no dash ("-") as the first 2 characters or last single character
  • no consecutive dashes ("--")

Select a subscription

If you have more than one subscription, choose one that also has data or file storage services. Azure Search can auto-detect Azure Table and Blob storage, SQL Database, and Azure Cosmos DB for indexing via indexers, but only for services in the same subscription.

Select a resource group

A resource group is a collection of Azure services and resources used together. For example, if you are using Azure Search to index a SQL database, then both services should be part of the same resource group.

Tip

Deleting a resource group also deletes the services within it. For prototype projects utilizing multiple services, putting all of them in the same resource group makes cleanup easier after the project is over.

Select a hosting location

As an Azure service, Azure Search can be hosted in datacenters around the world. Note that prices can differ by geography.

Select a pricing tier (SKU)

Azure Search is currently offered in multiple pricing tiers: Free, Basic, or Standard. Each tier has its own capacity and limits. See Choose a pricing tier or SKU for guidance.

In this walkthrough, we have chosen the Standard tier for our service.

Create your service

Remember to pin your service to the dashboard for easy access whenever you sign in.

Scale your service

It can take a few minutes to create a service (15 minutes or more depending on the tier). After your service is provisioned, you can scale it to meet your needs. Because you chose the Standard tier for your Azure Search service, you can scale your service in two dimensions: replicas and partitions. Had you chosen the Basic tier, you can only add replicas. If you provisioned the free service, scale is not available.

Partitions allow your service to store and search through more documents.

Replicas allow your service to handle a higher load of search queries.

  1. Go to your search service blade in the Azure portal.
  2. In the left-navigation pane, select Settings > Scale.
  3. Use the slidebar to add Replicas or Partitions.

Note

Each tier has different limits on the total number of Search Units allowed in a single service (Replicas * Partitions = Total Search Units).

When to add a second service

A large majority of customers use just one service provisioned at a tier that provides the right balance of resources. One service can host multiple indexes, subject to the maximum limits of the tier you select, with each index isolated from another. In Azure Search, requests can only be directed to one index, minimizing the chance of accidental or intentional data retrieval from other indexes in the same service.

Although most customers use just one service, service redundancy might be necessary if operational requirements include the following:

  • Disaster recovery (data center outage). Azure Search does not provide instant failover in the event of an outage. For recommendations and guidance, see Service administration.
  • Your investigation of multi-tenancy modeling has determined that additional services is the optimal design. For more information, see Design for multi-tenancy.
  • For globally deployed applications, you might require an instance of Azure Search in multiple regions to minimize latency of your application’s international traffic.
Note

In Azure Search, you cannot segregate indexing and querying workloads; thus, you would never create multiple services for segregated workloads. An index is always queried on the service in which it was created (you cannot create an index in one service and copy it to another).

A second service is not required for high availability. High availability for queries is achieved when you use 2 or more replicas in the same service. Replica updates are sequential, which means at least one is operational when a service update is rolled out. For more information about uptime, see Service Level Agreements.

Next steps

After provisioning an Azure Search service, you are ready to define an index so you can upload and search your data.

To access the service from code or script, provide the URL (service-name.search.windows.net) and a key. Admin keys grant full access; query keys grant read-only access. See How to use Azure Search in .NET to get started.

See Build and query your first index for a quick portal-based tutorial.